Ted Cruz rants about comedians, late-night TV, and mask-wearing before shouting at people to 'just have fun' in wild CPAC speech

ted cruz cpac speech
Sen. Ted Cruz. John Raoux/AP Photo
  • Ted Cruz's CPAC speech began with a joke on the Cancún scandal and ended in a scream about freedom.

  • Cruz railed against late-night TV, mocked mask-wearing, and expressed his support for Trump.

  • "That is our party," he yelled, "and these deplorables are here to stay."

  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Sen. Ted Cruz's speech at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference went off the rails Friday as he shouted about late-night comedians, mask-wearing, and President Joe Biden.

"Orlando is awesome. It's not as nice as Cancún, but it's nice," the Republican senator said, referring to the scandal he sparked when he left storm-ravaged Texas for Cancún, Mexico, with his family last week. Cruz returned to Houston a day later after drawing sharp criticism for leaving the state he represented for a vacation in the middle of a devastating winter storm.

Later in his speech, Cruz issued a rallying cry in support of former President Donald Trump.

"There are a whole lot of voices in Washington that want to just erase the last four years, want to go back to the world before where we had government of the lobbyists, by the lobbyists, and for the lobbyists," Cruz said.

"Where the Republicans' compelling message was, 'Republicans: We waste less,'" he added. "And they look at Donald J. Trump, and they look at the millions and millions of people inspired who went to battle fighting alongside President Trump, and they're terrified and they want him to go away."

"Let me tell you this right now: Donald J. Trump ain't going anywhere," Cruz added.

The former president once suggested that the senator's father helped assassinate President John F. Kennedy and insinuated his wife was ugly.

Cruz also reappropriated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" line to underscore Trumpism as the future of the party.

"That is our party," he yelled, "and these deplorables are here to stay."

Here are some other highlights from Cruz's speech:

  • Cruz called mask-wearing is virtue signaling: "We're going to wear masks for the next 300 years," Cruz said. "And by the way, not just one mask - two, three, four - you can't have too many masks. How much virtue do you want to signal?"

  • He railed against comedians and cancel culture before telling people to "just have fun": "You know, Jerry Seinfeld doesn't tell comedy anymore because then he jokes that funny is canceled," Cruz said. "You know, 'SNL' is unwatchable. The late-night comedy, they stand up and say, 'We hate Donald Trump.' Yeah, no kidding. We didn't get that the last 9,000 times you said that."

  • Cruz said Democrats were trying to turn skaters into socialists: "And let me tell you, right now, in Los Angeles, there's some skater kid who's 19, who's told that it's hip and chic and cool to be a leftist socialist, man," he said. "Who's going to hear a message, 'Wait a second, these guys don't want me to speak? Think? Have fun? Do what I want to do?'"

  • He said there were no "Black Lives Matter" demonstrations in Houston last year because of the Second Amendment: "In Houston where I live, I have to tell you, there weren't any rioters because let's be very clear: If there had been, they would discover what the state of Texas thinks about the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms," Cruz said.

Cruz rounded out his speech by saying the US was in a period of "dark days" and that "the country will come back to sanity." He added: "And mark my words, 2022 is going to be a fantastic election year, and so is 2024 as we stand together and defend liberty, defend the Constitution, defend the Bill of Rights of every American."

In closing, Cruz quoted William Wallace and screamed, "Freedom!"

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